The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to Sri Lanka. It should not be taken as a substitute for a personal consultation with one of our travel health doctors, whose advice will be specific for you and your trip and may include some things not mentioned here.
Most Common Health Issues
Travellers’ Diarrhoea and Respiratory Illness
Observe strict food and water safety precautions and hand hygiene. Consider taking a water filter and well stocked kit with guidelines for treatment. Seek medical advice if persistent or severe illness, particularly for infants, the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.
Dengue fever and Chikungunya
Both preventable by taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites, particularly during the daytime in urban areas. In 2016 almost 50000 cases of dengue fever were reported, around half of which occurred in Colombo or surrounding areas. No vaccine is available for either of these diseases.
This serious but rare mosquito borne illness occurs mainly in rural areas, particularly in the wet season. Vaccination is available for those at high risk.
Animal Bites and Wounds
Avoid being bitten or scratched by any mammal. Consider pre-travel rabies vaccination (well before travel) for extended trips or where contact with animals is likely. Whether pre-vaccinated or not, thoroughly flush and disinfect any animal wound and seek prompt medical care for post exposure vaccination and wound care.
Dehydration and heat stroke
Ensure adequate hydration, avoid prolonged periods in the sun and rest/cool down to treat. If severe seek medical attention.
Natural Disasters and Security Issues
Monsoon season in the Southwest is May through to October. Heavy rains may result in severe flooding and landslides. Keep an eye on the news. Security and other travel issues are well documented on the Australian government’s Smart Traveller website.
As well as being up to date for routine childhood vaccines such as tetanus, measles and hepatitis B, the following vaccines are often recommended – hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, cholera and influenza. Decisions regarding which are most appropriate depend on duration and nature of travel, itinerary, age and underlying medical conditions. These and other issues will be discussed during your consultation.